Kagiso Rabada has sent out an ominous warning to England’s batsmen ahead of the four-match Test series where he plans to be no less aggressive in his attacking approach.
The sometimes hot-headed fast bowler – he has been found guilty of breaching the ICC’s code of conduct no less than five times including two suspensions – is intent on taking himself to the brink as he looks to spearhead the Proteas attack.
Displaced at the top of the current ICC Test bowling rankings to Australia’s Pat Cummins, the 24-year-old has spent some of the off-season analysing his shortcomings and his plan to get himself and his country back to their rightful place.
‘I look back and I acknowledge I’ve lost control in the past,’ Rabada told the Guardian.
‘It’s about finding that balance. I can still be that aggressive bowler who intimidates. But I’ve learned to pick my moments. It takes a sound, steady mind to maintain the balance and I’m more mature now.’
Rabada, though, knows that aggression, which clearly comes naturally, is part and parcel of every successful bowler’s arsenal.\
‘It’s not just skill that makes the great fast bowlers in history what they are. They all have that intensity that makes it uncomfortable for batsmen to stand up to. The aggression is something that is naturally in me. It makes me a better bowler. It helps me bowl faster for longer. I haven’t always been in control of it but I’m getting better.’
Rabada is expected to go toe-to-toe with England’s own pace ace, Jofra Archer, this summer and is well aware that he will be the one to make good on any Archer missiles.
‘You want to go out and return the favour when someone hits your batter,’ he adds.
‘But you can’t let your emotions get the better of you. You need to use that motivation to rev you up but you can’t think irrationally. My job is to take wickets. Sometimes that means getting aggressive and bowling short but sometimes it means having more control. My record shows I know when to do this.’
Rabada has taken 183 wickets at an average of 22.5 in 40 Tests.
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